Okeke Chika Jerry: Open Letter to Gov Soludo

OPEN LETTER TO GOVERNOR SOLUDO

You are, unfortunately, the most distracted governor in Nigeria today by both seen and unforseen circumstances. This is very bad for Anambra State and this will affect your overall performance if you fail to act wisely now. Leaders need the prayers and support of the followers in order to succeed but I wonder how many Anambrarians that pray for you now. I sincerely feel for you! And I share in your pain, praying for you to come out of it soon. Please, do not be demolarized; do not be deterred.

 

Going to a year now, you are still warming up for the great task ahead, though you still have time. This is as a result of the challenges facing you. It will be good if you address the Anambrarians in a state-wide broadcast asking them to renew their support for you again. Nobody is above mistake. It was as a result of your passion to develop the state that you took some decisions that did not go down well with the people. Please sir, stop losing your temper unnecessarily bearing in mind that as a leader, you must always be provoked especially by the opposition. Silence is golden for now because people often misunderstand you whenever you speak your mind.

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Sir, a lot is expected from your administration especially by the ‘hungry’ poor masses but some big fishes who want you to fail as a governor are throwing stones at you to distract you. Stop replying them! Remember when two big elephants are fighting, the grass will suffer. I advise you to keep quiet for now and concentrate on your good work in order to prove them wrong. It’s only those who don’t love their state that will pray for a sitting governor to fail.

 

Very importantly, a team of powerful prayer warriors are needed around you in that Agu-Awka Government House. Anambra cannot do without fasting and prayers now if you want to succeed under the present circumstances.

 

His Excellency, I wake up everyday to hear lots and lots of complains from Anambrarians against your government and this has warranted this letter. As your good brother, I will not hide the truth from you. But before then, Prof, I want to first commend you for living up to your promises on declaring the state of emergency on Anambra roads by awarding a lot of road contracts. This shows you truly mean well for Anambra State. I wish you well sir, though my worry is how you will be able to fund all these projects and properly supervise them to be like”Ngige” roads in Idemili.

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Prof, over 50% of the people who rejoiced when you emerged as the governor of Anambra State believed that your emergency would bring succour to them rather than this hardship. I live in the midsts of these people and I can tell you for free that your people are not happy with your “beautiful” economic policies. Beautiful in the sense that taxation is good but the mindset of our people over taxation is very very poor.

 

I advise you to soft-pedal on this issue of taxation and reintroduce it when your government has done some visible things on ground. For now, I advise that your administration should channel about 30% of the state monthly income into direct investments especially in agriculture and industrialization.

 

I advise you to employ young civil engineers and use them (at least 30%) to fix our roads especially rural roads rather than contracting every road to private construction firms. We could hire the services of foreign engineers to lead them on road construction not just wasting money training them and dumping them thereafter. And it will be cheaper for us to construct and maintain our roads annually because government wastes a lot of money on award of contracts yearly.

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Instead of taxing the poor keke, okada and barrow pushers who are already hungry and angry, I advise you to invest in transportation by providing mass transit buses for both inter and intra state services. Tickets should be sold and accounted for. Government can establish their own petro stations in major cities and be selling fuel at normal price at least to help sanitize the market and make money for the state.

 

Ministry of agriculture should arise and set up poultry and livestock farms as well as farms for the cultivation of maize, cassava, rice, yam, palm oil, etc in each of the 21 LGAs to raise money for the state. This can help lower the prices of foods and make them available and cheap too.

 

ABS radio and television can make money for the state if they are made apolitical and independent. Then this issue of running to Channels Television for interviews will stop for good. Government should establish industries, hotels, microfinance banks, etc even in rural areas through public/private partnership and sell shares to the public. Anambra can make a lot of money through sports and tourism if our commissioners are capable of turning things around.

 

If I were you, Prof, I would use the land in all the public primary, secondary and tertiary institutions for production of food through agriculture. When we were in primary school in the olden days, we were raising ridges where we cultivated yam, cassava and maize. Handiwork was also introduced in schools then. Why not now? There are other public land lying waste in this state. Government should lead by example by using them to invest massively in agriculture and industrialization. I believe you, Charlie Nwa Mgbafo, can do it because I know you are capable.

 

Proudly speaking, over 70% of the importers in Nigeria who are currently doing well in international markets are Anambrarians. As a governor of this lucky state, you need to sit down with these importers and fashion out ways in which most of these imported goods will be manufactured or assembled here in Anambra State just like our brothers Innoson, Chikason and co are doing in Nnewi. If I had won the election, my plan was to use the vast land in Nnewi South LGA spanning up to Azia/Orsumoghu/Lilu in Ihiala LGA for massive industrialization of the state through private/public partnership. But I lost the election probably because of what people describe as “wrong/unknown party”. My dear Prof, please I will be happy if your administration will think towards that direction.

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For now you shouldn’t worry yourself about taxing the poor masses when you know that there are so many Anambrarians both at home and in diaspora who are far richer than the state government. Only the fruitful roundtable discussion with these people will do the magic.

 

There are needs for farm settlements in Anaku, Ufuma, Anam, Achalla and Ogwuaniocha. These farm settlements can attract fertilizer and other industries to the state. We can’t be dying of hunger and our youths without jobs when we are blessed with fertile lands in those areas. Ekene Dili Chukwu saw the opportunity years back and personally established one at Anaku. Such gigantic project need to be revived and taken over by the state government. Coschasris and others are equally doing their best there but what is government doing to assist those people? Where is Anambra Rice? The past administration was exporting bitter leaves and other vegetables to Europe. A year after, nobody heard anything about it again. In case if you want to know, let me tell you, that agriculture alone can tackle the problem of insecurity in Anambra State.

 

Prof, the opportunity is there glaring at you to make your own mark just like your predecessors have done. Okwadike attracted to us the federal Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, Mbadinuju gave us Anambra State University at Uli, Ngige and Obi among other things opened up good network of roads in the state. Obi in addition revived education sector, built Amaku Specialist Hospital from scratch and Igbariam Camp of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University which he renamed after the warlord, Ojukwu of blessed memory. The encouragement he gave to Innoson Motors is what every governor in Nigeria should emulate. Obiano should be remembered for the first Anambra International Airport and also the three beautiful flyovers in Awka among other things. Prof, if you can calm down now, carry everybody along and concentrate on pure governance, you can beat all these set records, harsh economic condition of Nigeria notwithstanding. This is still mmorning!

 

Instead of giving political appointments to politicians at both state and local government levels ‘in order to settle them for the effort they made during the election’, and using the tax payers money to pay them salaries and allowances, it’s better to employ the youths at various local government areas and use them in agriculture and industrialization to generate money for the state from “Consumption to Production” in line with what our brother Peter Obi is preaching to Nigeria now. Your administration now has too many political appointees and huge amount of salaries and allowances paid monthly.

 

When I was campaigning for governor, I promised the people of Anambra State that I would not take salary as their governor for at least the period of two years. And I would not touch my security vote as a governor until I have adequately secured, educated and employed them. And I also promised to source for the commissioners and politicians who would also work without salaries for at least two years. They would work on part time bases and they would be experts in their various fields. The idea behind it was to save a lot of money for the state and use the money to industrialize the state to create jobs for the youths. I thought of it that it would be irresponsible of me if people whom I am better off after voting me in as their governor and I use their money to pay myself salaries, buy bulletproof cars for myself while I keep them jobless and hungry and even without security and sound education.

 

His Excellency sir, teachers, especially male teachers are needed in our public primary and secondary schools now. Kudos to you sir for recruiting about 5000 of them, though the number is far from being enough.

 

What I promised Anambra State during my campaign was to raise funds through special education trust fund in order to fund education. Education was number one on my manifesto because without it we have no future. Principals and headteachers should be given money to run their schools rather than telling them to tax the students or parents.

 

Everybody is aware that education is capital intensive. And half education is dangerous. So government should pay serious attention to education by funding it properly. Great thanks to Okwute Ndi Igbo, Mr Peter Obi for doing a lot in education sector during his tenure as Anambra State governor.

 

I want to appeal to you, His Excellency, to please recall the sacked PTA teachers who were employed by your predecessor. These teachers were teaching and suffering in various public schools in the state with peanuts as their salaries. They were employed by the PTAs years back and have gathered a lot of experiences. After having taught for over ten years in public schools under PTA, Obiano converted them to permanent teachers which I see as a good omen but didn’t not hand them appointment letters. Before their mass sack by your administration, they have worked under APGA government for six months without salary. Though there were some errors in the process of recruiting them, the records in their schools can stand in their defence. Great number of them who did not make it on the recent recruitment exercise done by your administration have come to me pleading with me to talk to you on their behalf. My candid appeal to you, His Excellency, is to tamper justice with mercy.

 

My governor, I want to commend you gallantly on your efforts towards securing the lives and property of Anambrarians but a lot more still needs to be done. Security cameras are needed especially on our major markets, roads and junctions. It won’t cost you much. Hoodlums, bandits and criminals are afraid of cameras more than they are afraid of security personnels. Cameras will even reveal to you how some security personnels or the your IGR agents compromise on their duties. Why not try it and see?

 

Very importantly, His Excellency, your people now suffer a lot on traffic jams in our major cities of Onitsha, Awka and Nnewi especially at 3-3 Onitsha, bridge head, Owerri Road and Nkpor axis especially due to bad roads and reckless driving. It will be terrible this Xmas period if nothing is done urgently. Imagine staying over three hours on traffic under intensive heat of sunshine burning fuel without any hope. Please sir, I appeal to you to use your good office to call on the state commissioner of police to as a matter of urgency instruct all the DPOs to wake up the traffic units of the command to ensure that the issues of traffic jams in their areas are addressed. It’s the official duty of the police to control traffic and punish the offenders accordingly.

 

His Excellency, I don’t know if you have passed through Onitsha-Owerri Road recently. In case you haven’t, please try to do so and see how your people suffer on that road. Using that road as a point of contact, I want you to do some palliatives on some critical major roads in the state before this festive season prior to when such roads will be fully reconstructed owing to the fact that there’s high rate of insecurity in the state now. Some trips of sand or laterite can do some magic on those roads so that many people can pass through Onitsha, Awka and Nnewi during this Xmas period. Jisi ike! O dighi ofele. God is your strength! I’m praying for you!

 

I had a dream of establishing a paper mill in Ogbaru if I were elected governor of Anambra State in the last election. Sorry I didn’t win! But Prof, I will be happy if you can think towards that direction because the raw materials are there. And this can help bring down the cost of books in Nigeria and as well raise the state IGR.

 

Without wasting time, Prof, there is need urgently to establish two dams in Anambra State: One in Ogbaru and another one in Anam. Use your influence as a global person and as the former CBN Governor to attract such investment to our dear state because dam can help both in irrigation and power generation. Mounting pressure on the federal government to dredge River Niger will be a huge plus to your government too Because Of Our Tomorrow.

 

You promised us local government election. I hope it won’t take you too long before fulfilling that very important promise. So many youths that want to win councillorship or chairmanship elections are being denied such lifetime opportunities. Please I want you to think towards that direction immediately after general election next year.

 

If all these are done, people will pay their taxes willingly; the state will be prosperous, youths will be busy meaningfully and happy; calm will return to the state, huge investments will be attracted and you will be re-named the Micheal Okpala of new Anambra State. Then your second tenure will be assured.

 

Willingly, if there are areas you want me to assist your government to achieve all these and more, feel free to contact me. And I won’t demand for any kobo from you in order to help you fix Anambra State, the Light of the Nation.

 

I wish you the best of luck, my dear brother.

 

Okeke CHIKA JERRY

Former Governorship Candidate

Action Alliance (AA) 2013

BOOT Party (BP) 2021

Anambra State

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